It seems that a great deal of reinvestigation involving the life and times of Roland Kirk focuses on his later years, once he had begun to call himself Rahsaan and had launched a successful series of recordings for Atlantic Records. Not enough attention has been given to his first recordings for Bethlehem and Argo and then the great spate of activity at Mercury. In fact, it was through his first two Mercury dates that this reviewer first became transfixed by what was clearly a revolutionary sound beyond the conventional. On the cover of We Free Kings you had to marvel at the sight of three horns crammed into Kirk’s mouth. Then there was the mad search for a copy of Kirk’s Domino, his sophomore release for Mercury, available only as a pricey Japanese import for quite some time. Ultimately, I was able to acquire the massive 10-CD boxed set of the entire Kirk catalog on Mercury. But just when you think you’ve got it all covered, there’s this new version of Domino with six performances and a few edits that were left off of even the boxed compilation.
Offering up the complete contents of several sessions in April of 1962, this new Verve Master Edition disc includes three takes of “I Didn’t know What Time It Was,” two tries at “Someone To Watch Over Me,” four extra stabs at “Termini’s Corner,” three takes of “When the Sun Comes Out,” and “Time Races With Emit.” Six tracks feature a great Chicago group with pianist Andrew Hill on hand and then the rest of the cuts have either Herbie Hancock or Wynton Kelly on piano, with Roy Haynes providing some incendiary drum work to boot. As Kirk would have undoubtedly called them, there are many “bright moments” to be savored, including the searing up tempo romp of “E.D.” and the extended note at the conclusion of “3-in-1 Without the Oil” achieved through circular breathing. With excellent sound quality throughout, this is the definitive edition of Domino, one you’ll have to own even if you’ve got the boxed set.
Track Listing: Domino, Meeting on Termini's Corner, Time, Lament, A Strich in Time, 3-in-1 Without the Oil, Get Out of Town, Rolando, I Believe in You, E. D., Where Monk and Mingus Live / Let's Call This, Domino - alternative version, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, Someone to Watch Over Me - breakdown take, Someone to Watch Over Me, Termini's Corner, Termini's Corner, Termini's Corner, Termini's Corner - breakdown take and intercuts, When the Sun Comes Out, When the Sun Comes Out, When the Sun Comes Out, Time Races With Emit
Personnel: Roland Kirk (tenor saxophone, manzello, stritch, flute, nose flute, siren whistle, voice), Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Wynton Kelly (piano), Vernon Martin (bass), Henry Duncan, Roy Haynes (drums)